Sudipta Dey
With a name like Carnal Lullaby, one can’t stop but let their imagination run wild. And trust me, Suman Nathwani’s collection will surely will stop you dead in your tracks and take you for a ride even in your dreams. Her Sleepwear collection for Bridal Asia 2010 is all about comfort as well as style.
Suman has been designing for the last 23 years, specialising in lingerie and sleepwear. And this is the eleventh time that she is taking part in Bridal Asia. “It’s all about a woman’s sensuality and sexuality,” she says, which has also been the inspiration for her collection. The collection draws inspiration from qualities which add to the beauty of women — courage, independence and vanity. The line exudes luxury with a strain of primrose passion, sensory pleasure topped with a delicious dollop of refined self indulgence.
Mostly using natural fibres, her forte is handmade laces that is synonymous with innerwear. But she points out that these are different from the ones that you get in New Market. “All are handcrafted, and quite expensive. No one sees the lingerie and nightwear as an item for high fashion. I have been struggling to place it as a high fashion commodity,” says Suman, who rates comfort above everything else.
“I used a lot of cutwork when I started off, but one does not find quality products now. I am trying to reinvent handmade laces and cutwork,” she says. She has kept the collection in shades of pinks and peaches and also in black and white for her ‘Black & White’ collection. She has also used shades of blue and red too. “There are two sides of a woman’s sexuality; one that is submissive and the other which is dominating,” explains Suman, who has something to please both.
Her expertise in designing intimate wear is unquestionable and so she has a loyal clientele all across the country. Retailing from her signature store Suman Nathwani and La Lingerie, Suman has built up a huge clientele, for whom she designs innerwear exclusively.
“They tell me their fantasies and I turn their fantasies into reality,” says Suman with a smile which clearly shows she has been privy to many such ‘naughty fantasies.’ So, what has been the craziest request? “A client had asked me to design a crotchless panty!” 
No matter how crazy or commonplace the request is, Suman has always learnt from her clients. Though most people refer to FTV or Victoria’s Secret as the benchmark, Suman wants her brand to grow to such levels and be comparable to international standards.
“Though people look up to such brands, one has to keep in mind the different body types of Indians. Not only body types, the colour and their personal inhibitions too. Most of us are always covered and the lingerie comes out only in bedrooms,” says Suman.
Having been in the business for a long time, Suman points out an interesting fact. “The market for designer sleepwear is much higher here in Kolkata, than the usual suspects Delhi or Mumbai,” she says. “The number of working women in others cities are more compared to Kolkata. After work most prefer to get into a pair of shorts and t-shirts rather than designer wear. Here women have more time to dress up for their men, ” she concludes.